Stats & Info: Yankees

Royals slow down Yankees

July, 24, 2010
Royals 7, Yankees 4
Despite Mark Teixeira having his 3rd multi-HR game this season, the Yankees lose to the Royals to snap their 3-game win streak. Teixeira has now hit 20+ HR in each of his first 8 seasons. Alex Rodriguez (1-4) was unable to get his 600th HR despite facing Kyle Davies off whom he hit his 500th HR. The Royals win their first home game in their last 6 tries thanks to a Jose Guillen HR. He is batting .368 with 11 HR in 32 day games this season.

Rapid reaction: What Jason Kubel has in common with Babe Ruth

April, 12, 2010
The last time the Red Sox opened a new ballpark, John Phillip Sousa’s marching band opened the festivities at Yankee Stadium and Babe Ruth christened his new home with a home run.

This time around, the Red Sox were victimized by Jason Kubel in Target Field’s debut. The result was the same: a three-run loss.

* Albert Pujols, through seven games, has outslugged the Astros lineup by himself. He has more home runs and RBI than all the Astros hitters combined.

* And speaking of the Astros, let’s show them some pity. Of the starting pitchers they’ve faced so far, three got Cy Young votes as recently as last year. That trio of Tim Lincecum, Roy Halladay and Adam Wainwright, have combined for 24 innings pitched without allowing an earned run.

Stats & Info's Snap Reactions: Granderson takes Papelbon deep

April, 7, 2010
  • Curtis Granderson’s solo blast in the 10th inning off Jonathan Papelbon lifted the Yankees to a series win over the Red Sox. Interestingly enough, Granderson is now the only player in MLB to hit two home runs off Papelbon.The Yankees victory was also notable in that it was their 17th consecutive win in a game that was tied at the end of the seventh inning, breaking the modern MLB record held by the 1906 Giants.
  • Ryan Howard’s two-run HR off Jason Marquis in the fifth inning was worthy of ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’. Not only did it travel 434 feet, but at its apex, the ball was 172 feet high. That matches the second-highest home run ball since 2006. Carlos Lee—then of Brewers fame—got one to 177 feet high on May 24, 2006 against the Reds. Ian Kinsler hit a blast that reached an apex of 172 feet on May 24, 2009.
  • Giants shortstop Edgar Renteria had his fourth career five-hit game on Wednesday, including two hits off curveballs. Through two games this season, he's already matched his hit total of three against curves from 2009.

BTBS: Derek Jeter should bat No. 6

March, 18, 2010
Over the next couple of days I’ll be optimizing MLB's best lineups by The Book. No, not the collection of traditional baseball heuristics, but an actual published book that statistically analyzes those traditional assumptions. Next up is the highest-scoring lineup as projected by ZiPS: the New York Yankees.

I mentioned in the Phillies post that there is an argument to be made against putting either Shane Victorino or Jimmy Rollins in the leadoff spot. Today I’m going to make that argument by demoting Derek Jeter to the sixth spot, in favor of Nick Johnson in the leadoff spot.

Don't kill me yet. Here's why:

At the top of the order, getting on base is king, and while Jeter’s very good in that arena, Johnson is OBP royalty. And since Johnson will only be in the lineup against righties anyway, his offensive advantage over Jeter is even larger. Jeter has the ability to steal bases, but that ability is actually overrated in front of hitters who will walk (because a walk pushes the leadoff hitter to second base without the risk of an out) and pound out extra-base hits (often scoring the runner from first base). Jeter’s ability to steal bases would be more useful lower in the order, in front of singles hitters; not that the Yankees really have any of those on the team. In short, swapping 25 times on base for 25 stolen bases isn't a price worth paying at the leadoff spot.

Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira are the two best hitters on the team, earning themselves the second and fourth spots in the lineup. Because their hitting profiles are so similar and A-Rod can handle righties as well as lefties, it doesn’t really matter where we place them. I’ll go with A-Rod batting cleanup because his stolen bases are more useful lower in the order, but if Joe Girardi wants to bat Teixeira cleanup because his horoscope mentioned bacon, so be it.

The next two best hitters go third and fifth. As this is the Yankees, they have four more "best hitters" in Jeter, Nick Swisher, Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson. Against righties, Cano and Granderson have the better bats, so Granderson takes the three-hole: He’s more reliant on home runs and less likely to ground into double plays. Cano hits fifth, as the Yankees have already announced.

Next comes Jeter, who can run wild on all the doubles hit by Swisher and Posada, although these three are so close that their order doesn’t matter much. (Having Jeter as low as sixth is going to get me in enough trouble, so I won’t slide him down any further.) Finally, Brett Gardner and his defensive talents set up shop in the nine hole. At least his OBP should be league average, helping roll over the lineup with plenty of runners on base for the big guns.

So says The Book:
1. Nick Johnson (L)
2. Mark Teixeira (S)
3. Curtis Granderson (L)
4. Alex Rodriguez (R)
5. Robinson Cano (L)
6. Derek Jeter (R)
7. Nick Swisher (S)
8. Jorge Posada (S)
9. Brett Gardner (L)

A longer explanation of some of the batting-order principles in The Book can be found in this article. Sky Kalkman writes for Beyond The Box Score.

Some things change, others don't

March, 3, 2010
Just to give you an idea of how we approach note-finding at ESPN Stats and Information...

News item: Tim Lincecum allows three runs in the first inning of exhibition opener

If this were the regular season, that would qualify as a rarity.

Lincecum hasn't allowed three runs in the opening inning of a start since yielding three to the Mets on July 8, 2008. He didn't allow a first-inning run in his last 12 starts of the 2009 season. In fact, he allowed only four first-inning runs ALL OF LAST YEAR.

News item: The Yankees win their spring opener on a Colin Curtis walk-off home run

Now this feels like 2009 all over again...The Yankees had 15 walk-off wins last season, their most since 1943, and set a club record with seven walk-off home runs. It's the first by a "Curtis" since Chad Curtis hit one in the 1999 World Series.